At 23:59 on December 18, Beijing time, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake occurred in Jishishan County, Linxia Prefecture, Gansu Province, with a focal depth of 10 kilometers. The meteorological department reminded that disaster relief personnel should take measures to prevent cold and heat preservation to prevent body hypothermia. What is hypothermia? What are the symptoms of hypothermia? How to deal with and prevent hypothermia? Xi Xiaotu, chief physician of the emergency department of Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, gave the following answer in an interview.
What is hypothermia?
Hypothermia, also known as hypothermia, is a condition in which the body’s heat loss is greater than its heat supply, resulting in a lower temperature in the core area. The total heat production of the human body mainly includes the heat generated by basal metabolism, special dynamic effects of food and muscle activity. Under normal circumstances, the human body can maintain a balance between heat production and heat dissipation through the body temperature regulation mechanism, thereby maintaining normal body temperature (armpit temperature is 36 to 37°C). If heat production is reduced or heat loss is increased, the balance is disrupted, causing hypothermia.
What are the factors that cause hypothermia?
Pathological factors: excessive physical exertion, insufficient energy supply, severe trauma, excessive blood loss, and metabolic diseases such as thyroiditis.
Environmental factors: cold, wind speed and humidity.
Drug factors: The use of alcohol, anesthetics, etc. can also affect the temperature regulation function of the central nervous system.
In which group of people is hypothermia more common?
People who are prone to hypothermia include: the elderly without adequate food, clothing or heating equipment; babies who sleep indoors in low-temperature environments; people who stay outdoors for a long time; people who drink alcohol, etc.
How to recognize hypothermia?
The identification of hypothermia can be simply summarized as “walking first, listening secondly, and looking threely”.
One walk: tandem walking test method. When walking, the toes of the back toes touch the heels of the front heels in a straight line. If it is difficult to complete the above-mentioned walking, it indicates that the trunk movement is imbalanced, indicating possible hypothermia.
Second listening: Whether the articulation is clear and whether the language logic is confusing when listening and speaking. If the behavior and speech are abnormal, you should be highly alert for hypothermia.
Third look: Check whether there are any abnormal behaviors such as continuous trembling or unsteady walking, whether the face is pale, and whether the eyes are blurred. If the above situation occurs, it indicates that there may be hypothermia.
What are the symptoms of hypothermia?
Hypothermia is divided into three stages: mild, moderate and severe according to severity:
Mild hypothermia: A hypothermic person’s body temperature drops to 32 to 35°C; tremors, numbness of hands, and inability to complete complex movements; fast and shallow breathing; “goosebumps” appear on the skin; may feel tired, abdominal pain; abnormal urination many.
Moderate hypothermia: The body temperature of the person with hypothermia drops to 28 to 32°C; there is more obvious muscle incoordination, slower and more difficult movements, accompanied by unsteady steps, confused sense of direction, etc.; the face is pale, the lips, ears, and Fingers and toes may turn blue; they may have the illusion of being “heated up” for a short period of time, and they may behave abnormally, such as taking off their clothes.
Severe hypothermia: The person’s body temperature drops below 28°C; muscle tremors have usually stopped, muscle coordination is almost completely lost, and the person cannot walk; difficulty speaking, slow thinking, etc.; exposed skin turns blue; and possible coma.
How to deal with hypothermia?
Once hypothermia occurs, stay calm, carry out self-rescue and mutual rescue and seek medical treatment promptly. When encountering hypothermia, first remove the cause of hypothermia, and secondly, take different treatment measures according to different stages of hypothermia.
If mild hypothermia occurs, the person with hypothermia should quickly move to a warm, wind-proof, and rain-proof place, change into dry and warm clothes, and supplement high-calorie foods to restore body functions.
If the symptoms of hypothermia are severe and the person has lost the ability to move, the rescuer should send the person with hypothermia to the hospital immediately. When immediate medical attention is not possible, rescuers can provide on-site first aid. The principle of on-site first aid for hypothermia is to do everything possible to reduce the heat loss of the hypothermic person, promote the recovery of core body temperature, and maintain vital signs.
Methods to reduce heat loss for those with hypothermia include: taking off cold and wet clothes, drying the body, changing to warm and dry clothes, or wrapping the body with dry blankets, bedding, thermal blankets, etc.
Methods to promote core body temperature recovery include external heating and energy injection. External heating mainly heats the core areas of the body, such as placing hot water bottles in core areas such as the precordium, neck, armpits, and groin of hypothermic patients. Energy injection mainly involves supplementing high-calorie foods. If possible, you can also eat foods or medicines that warm the meridians, dispel cold, and warm the blood vessels, such as brown sugar and ginger water.
It should be noted that the rescuer should not rub the limbs of the person with hypothermia. Doing so will cause the low-temperature blood in the periphery to flow back, causing the temperature in the core of the person with hypothermia to further drop, thereby aggravating the condition.
If there is local frostbite, traditional Chinese medicine preparations can be used for local treatment. If the frostbite does not ulcerate, you can use musk activating blood circulation and removing blood stasis ointment, snake oil chilblain ointment, Yunnan Baiyao tincture, safflower oil, etc. for external use. If frostbite has broken out, use Chinese patent medicines such as Moist Burn Ointment, Jingwanhong Ointment, and Kangfuxin Liquid for external application.
How to prevent hypothermia?
To prevent hypothermia, attention should be paid to four aspects: clothing, food, housing, and transportation.
Clothing: Try to wear clothes with good cold-proof properties to prevent the body surface from being exposed; pay attention to adding or removing clothes to avoid sweating and causing the clothes to get soaked; keep the body dry and try to choose underwear that can wick away perspiration. Do not wear cotton underwear if it gets wet. , change into dry clothes as soon as possible; take appropriate windproof measures and avoid exposure to cold wind.
Food: Prepare enough high-energy foods and hot drinks to replenish calories in time.
Accommodation: When camping in the wild, choose a camping spot facing the sun and sheltered from the wind.
Action: Reasonably allocate physical energy to avoid physical exhaustion and excessive sweating; try to reduce the time and frequency of outdoor activities in extremely bad weather.